Bangalore's Challengers conquer Pune's Warriors
Royal Challengers Bangalore registered an emphatic win over Pune Warriors, who started the game without their regular skipper Sourav Ganguly.
A change in captaincy failed to inspire Pune Warriors as Royal Challengers Bangalore registered a comprehensive 35-run win in their rain-affected Indian Premier League match, here today.
Half-centuries from Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan combined with an excellent bowling effort helped Royal Challengers Bangalore crush Pune Warriors.
While Bangalore are now placed third in the table with 15 points, the Warriors slumped to their seventh straight defeat to continue to languish at number eight.
Gayle (57 off 31) and Dilshan (53 off 44) helped Royal Challengers to a challenging 173 for three after they were asked to bat by new Pune skipper Steven Smith.
Regular Pune skipper Sourav Ganguly 'rested' himself in the match and the side made as many as five changes but nothing helped them as they swallowed yet another defeat.
Chasing 174, the hosts made the worst possible start as paceman Zaheer Khan removed Mohnish Mishra (4) and Manish Pandey (0) in the very first over.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke (13) yet again came a cropper as all Pune managed was 138 for nine in 20 overs.
R Vinay Kumar (3/32), Muttiah Muralitharan (2/16) and Zaheer (2/21) all contributed in Pune's rout by striking intermittently.
Robin Uthappa's fiery 38 before being stumped off Muralitharan and Anustup Majumdar's sensible knock of 31 was the only resistance that came from the home side.
Earlier, half-centuries from openers Chris Gayle (57) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (53) helped Royal Challengers to a challenging 173 for three.
Regular Pune skipper Sourav Ganguly 'rested' himself in the match and new skipper Steven Smith invited Bangalore to bat at the swanky Sahara Subrata Roy Sahara stadium.
However, Gayle and Dilshan laid a very strong platform for a big score and their good start was capitalised later on by Saurabh Tiwary (36 not out off 30).
Pune though would be happy with the target since at one stage they were staring a 200-plus score when Gayle was in full flow. Sri Lankan paceman Angelo Mathews was the most economical and successful bowler as he gave away just 14 runs in his three overs also dismissed destructive Gayle.
The visitors had a fiery start yet again thanks to Gayle's pyrotechnics with the bat. Gayle and Dilshan put on 80 runs for the first wicket in just 51 balls. Gayle was his usual attacking self as he smashed six sixes, four in one over of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, to score the fastest fifty of the season in just 24 balls.
By the first six overs, RCB had reached 66 for no loss and Gayle's contribution was 50. Gayle had hit Pune's spinner Rahul Sharma for five sixes and today he took out Bhuvaneshwar for some severe punishment.
Mathews brought relief for the hosts when he had Gayle caught at long-on, where Manish Pandey took a simple catch. Bangalore still maintained a good run-rate and were 88 for one at half-way stage. Rahul Sharma then dismissed RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who miscued one off the spinner and the leading edge flew to his counterpart Steven Smith at mid-off.
The run-rate suffered due to the quick wickets and the next big over came only when Rahul was hit for 16 runs in the 14th over through a six and two fours by Dilshan and Saurabh Tiwary.
Dilshan, who faced 44 balls, kept the scoreboard ticking and in company of Tiwary put on 43 for the third wicket. A run out ended Dilshan's stay at the crease.